New intellectual property strengthens shareholders' exclusive access to the global livestock AI industry
TORONTO, April 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Microbix Biosystems Inc. (MBX:TSX) announced today that the Company is proceeding to submit a new patent application, based on discoveries arising from its extensive work on the Semen Sexing Technology (SST) program.
The new technology represents a significant departure from other methods to separate sperm cells by sex, and will potentially provide the Company with a further entree into the global Artificial Insemination (AI) industry. The technology affords shareholders a strong and exclusive intellectual property position and a simplified path through development and commercialization. The Company does not anticipate significant further research-phase investment in SST, and anticipates the ability to focus exclusively on development and commercialization activities with timelines determined accordingly.
"In the high risk world of biotech R&D, this is a success by any standard," said Microbix Chief Executive Officer William J. Gastle. "New intellectual property, in a large market, with a significant competitive advantage, are all criteria to be met when creating shareholder value. That is what we have done here."
The worldwide AI market is over $ 2.5 billion and Microbix estimates that sexed semen will garner a premium price of about 2.5 times the price of unsexed semen product. The Company's previous estimate of royalties of 15% of sales remains unchanged with the new technology. A number of AI companies representing 13% of the market have already agreed to participate in field trials.
The acquisition of the initial protein-based technology and assets from Sequent Biotechnologies in 2005 gave Microbix a significant lead in understanding the structural differences between X and Y chromosome-bearing bovine sperm. In June 2007 the Company reported having identified specific proteins and associated monoclonal antibodies that differentiated these cells, and the Company submitted a provisional patent on the discovery.
Subsequent work led to the recognition that the family of proteins required additional investigation. In a release in February 2008 the Company announced expansion of the SST development program to fully evaluate proteins to respectively characterize X and Y chromosome-bearing sperm. New state-of-the-art technologies were brought to bear on the analysis and the commercial potential of these discoveries. We have now completed this work and our evaluation of the proteins has not pointed to a commercial utility thus far.
However, this work has led to the discovery of a lower risk and commercially attractive next generation technology to achieve the same objective. Accordingly, broad patent claims protecting this technology are being filed. Field trials demonstrating the commercial application of this next-generation technology are expected to occur pending financing. The Company will provide an updated guidance on the timeline.
"The Scientific Advisory Committee has conducted a thorough review of all the results and methodologies associated with this program," said Dr. Mark A. Cochran, Chair of the committee. "We are very confident that the data generated strengthen the technological position of Microbix for the next phase of the work."
"The extensive scientific review we have undertaken has clearly concluded that we have met the research objectives of the SST program," said Mr. Gastle. "Product development now moves in a new direction to complete the commercial delivery platform for the AI industry."
Microbix specializes in the development of biological technologies and commercializing them through global partners. The Company has intellectual property in large market biotherapeutic drugs, vaccine technologies and animal reproduction technologies. Established in 1988, Microbix is headquartered in Toronto.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, which are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. For instance, product development may not result in products that can be commercialized, savings by producers may not reach value estimates or at all and sales may not reach sales targets or be made at all. Not all suppliers of livestock semen may convert to a sexed semen product, term sheet agreements already signed may not lead to definitive agreements between the parties. There is no guarantee that the Company will complete development of the technology and if it does that it will perform to the levels projected by the Company. While the Company is not aware of another technology on the market, or under development, that can provide the product at competitive pricing levels compared to Microbix' proposed sexed semen product, other technologies may emerge before SST enters the market. Royalty rates may change subject to the definitive agreement, the markets may not sustain the premium for sexed product should world economies shift significantly. Market utilization rates may not be reached. Market value of products may vary. Patents may not provide adequate protection for the Company's intellectual property and may be subject to challenge. These forward-looking statements represent the Company's judgment as of the date of this press release. The Company disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
|SOURCE Microbix Biosystems Inc.|
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